Can home visitation enhance maternal social support?

Am J Community Psychol. 2001 Feb;29(1):97-112. doi: 10.1023/A:1005201530070.


This study investigates the impacts of Healthy Start, a statewide, home visitation program, on the social support systems of 212 disadvantaged mothers in Oahu, Hawaii. Maternal support was assessed at the time these mothers gave birth and 12 months later with the Maternal Social Support Index. Comparisons of mothers randomly assigned to visited (n = 108) or nonvisited (n = 104) conditions uncover few differences on structural or affiliational aspects of support after 12 months. Visited mothers, however, are significantly less likely to report a decline in satisfaction with a close adult than nonvisited mothers do. The discussion examines the challenges of fostering social support and the ability of home visitation efforts to achieve this outcome.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Hawaii
  • House Calls*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Health Services / standards*
  • Maternal Welfare*
  • Poverty
  • Social Support*